January 31, 2011 / 10:17 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ivorian cocoa arriving at port, registrations stop

* 40,000 T arrive in week to Jan. 30, not registered

* Shippers heeding Ouattara call for export ban

(Adds comments, details)

ABIDJAN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Cocoa continued to reach Ivory Coast’s ports last week, but virtually none of it was registered for export as shippers observed a ban called by presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara, exporters said on Monday.

Some 895,000 tonnes of cocoa reached Ivory Coast’s two ports by Jan. 30 since the start of the season in October, marking a 14 percent increase from the same period a year-ago, according to a consensus estimate from exporters.

But the figure included 40,000 tonnes from the week ended Jan. 30, none of which was registered for shipment, they said.

“So far, there is no prohibition on accepting bean deliveries from farmers, and we’re doing that in order to recuperate what we have paid for in advance,” said one purchases manager in Abidjan. “But none of these beans have been registered for export,” he said.

Other exporters based in both Abidjan and San Pedro confirmed that beans were not being registered.

Ouattara, who is recognized by Western powers and African states as the winner of a Nov. 28 presidential election, last week called for a one-month ban on cocoa registrations to starve incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo of tax revenues.

Analysts have said the move could disrupt or delay Ivory Coast cocoa supplies, but point out the move comes after the bulk of the 2010-11 harvest has already been taxed, meaning the impact on supply will be limited.

Cocoa futures pulled back from one-year peaks on Monday after a rally on Ivorian supply concerns.

Gbagbo has shown no sign of caving to international pressure to step down after the country’s top legal body reversed U.N.-certified results showing Ouattara as the winner, citing fraud in Ouattara strongholds.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions targeting Gbagbo and his inner circle — including restrictions on business conducted by EU-registered ships at the country’s ports — while West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened force to oust him if other measures fail.

Good growing conditions in Ivory Coast, including periods of unseasonal rain in November and December, have improved prospects for the 2010-11 crop, with the International Cocoa Organization predicting 1.3 million tonnes.

Ivory Coast produced just over 1.2 million tonnes during the 2009-10 season.

Last week’s 40,000 tonnes in arrivals compares to some 22,646 tonnes arrivals at port in the same week a year ago, according to figures from industry regulator BCC. (Reporting by Ange Aboa; writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by James Jukwey)

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